Kicking the Sky

Anthony De Sa (Author)


It was 1977 when a shoeshine boy, Emanuel Jaques, was brutally murdered in Toronto. In the aftermath of the crime, twelve-year-old Antonio Rebelo explores his neighborhood's dark garages and labyrinthine back alleys along with his rapscallion friends.

As the media unravels the truth behind the Shoeshine Boy murder, Antonio sees his immigrant family--and his Portuguese neighborhood--with new eyes, becoming aware of the frightening reality that no one is really taking care of him. So intent are his parents and his neighbors on keeping the old traditions alive that they act as if they still live in a small village, not in a big city that puts their kids in the kind of danger they would not dare imagine.

Antonio learns about bravery and cowardice, life and death, and the heart's capacity for love--and for cruelty--in this stunning novel.

Product Details

Algonquin Books
Publish Date
March 25, 2014
5.4 X 1.0 X 8.1 inches | 0.7 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Anthony De Sa, author of the story collection Barnacle Love, grew up in Toronto's Portuguese community. He graduated from University of Toronto, did his postgraduate work at Queen's University, and attended the Humber School for Writers and Ryerson University. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three boys. This is his first novel. His website is


These heartfelt, intertwining stories depict the immigration of Antonio and his father, Manuel, to Canada, and deserve a key place in immigration literature. A complete success. Library Journal De Sa s well-realized coming-of-age story is distinguished by its setting in a traditional Portuguese community on the brink of change. Booklist"" [An] intricate coming-of-age debut novel. Publishers Weekly Impressive . . . [De Sa] has given us a beguiling coming-of-age story--harked back to an event that shocked the country and had massive repercussions--and at the same time managed to beautifully capture a community and an era. The Toronto Globe and Mail Rich and compulsively readable . . . A novel that, like most of the good ones, is funny, heart-breaking and humane. The Toronto Star Kicking the Sky bridges its polarized worlds, staying true to the humanity in each. It s one of the best things fiction can do. The National Post (Canada) A coming-of-age story with a vengeance--not just an individual, but an entire community--Kicking the Sky also captures a small but enduring turn of the historical screw. Maclean s "Kicking the Sky "dares to tell the story about the messy dark side of a big city through the clear eyes of a twelve-year-old boy teetering on the fence between observer and victim . . . A courageous novel. Jim Lynch, author of "Truth Like the Sun " The intensity and fragility of boys on the cusp of adolescence is vividly captured, as is the portrait of a community whose insularity is both its strength and its weakness. Shyam Selvadurai, author of" The Hungry Ghosts"" ""